Tornado Outbreak Slams Through Oklahoma
By: Brett Deering
Two schools were destroyed by that huge tornado Monday in Moore, Oklahoma, while teachers and students huddled in hallways and closets. Most of them survived, thanks to the schools' severe weather plans.
Schools in East Tennessee have their own policies.
In Knox County, the specific protocols vary from school to school, however, there are some general rules that every school must follow.
Schools practice "take cover procedures" regularly. Students are advised to get on the floor with their backs against the wall or locker, heads down against their knees, and cover their neck with hands and faces with arms. They are told to stay clear of all windows or doors containing glass.
If a tornado watch or severe thunderstorm warning is issued during school hours, all staff is notified, though teachers continue their regular activities while administrators monitor the weather. School is dismissed at the normal times.
More action is taken if a tornado warning is issued. In that case, staff and students go to a pre-designated area and assume the "take cover" position. Teachers take attendance to make sure everyone is accounted for. Students do not return to classrooms until an administrator gives the all-clear.
If a tornado is actually sighted near the school, the students are moved to their safe areas if there is time. If not, they will go to the nearest enclosed hallway. They are encouraged not to take shelter in large areas, like the gym, cafeteria, or auditorium.
All Knox County schools are supposed to have a weather radio.